Monday, September 4, 2017

Not Keen on Steve Keen Economics: Ricardo Stands

I doubt it will help, but let's murder Steve Keen a little, just in case I'm wrong.

This belief in the advantages of specialization lies behind the incredulity with which economists have reacted to the rise of populist politicians like Donald Trump in the United States, as well as the United Kingdom’s vote for Brexit. They have, at their most self-righteous, blamed the rise of anti-globalization sentiment on the public’s irrational failure to appreciate the net benefits of trade. 
Do I see where this is going? Keen is going to flagrantly ignore that price-controlled American labour is competing on a 'level' field with uncontrolled foreign labour. (P.S, he did.) In any case, official economists are shills, they're arguing that proggies should get everything they want. E.g. since State isn't allowed to meddle with domestic affairs, it has to entangle Americans with foreigners, so it can meddle indirectly.
he treated the specialized machinery in different industries as if it were equally as liquid (and so could be as easily repurposed) as the money with which it had been purchased
In reality factories are retooled all the time. It's not as liquid as money, sure. Money is a tool specifically optimized for liquidity. Further, regardless of how liquid such things are, the liquidity can be priced into the prospective profit calculation when they plan to build a factory. I guess Keen is signalling that he's such a rarefied academic that the existence of accountants routinely slips his mind.
The archetypal machines for cloth and wine manufacturing in Ricardo’s time included the spinning jenny and the wine press. It is stating the obvious that one cannot be turned into the other, but stating the obvious is necessary, because the easy conversion of one into the other was assumed by Ricardo, and has been assumed ever since by mainstream economic theory.
Hmm?
This is a confusion of monetary capital (which Ricardo, as a stockbroker by trade, knew intimately) with the physical machinery in factories (about which he knew very little).
Keen's list of things about which he knows very little; accountants, ships. Did you know you can put a wine press on a ship, and have the ship carry it to Portugal?
Machinery designed for one industry simply cannot move to any other, even in the same country; but machinery in one industry can (and frequently is) shipped between countries.
What? Oh, I see. Keen's not even wrong. This whole section had no point.
Had there been any English vineyards, they and their attendant machinery would have been rendered worthless and scrapped.
A straight contradiction. Shipping is possible. Also, when convenient, not possible. This is why, when you're engaged in sophistry, it's a bad idea to admit to knowing things. You can pass it off as an oversight if you haven't previously admitted to knowing that machines can be shipped.

Around this time a competent economist would have brought up the concept of shocks. Like any organism, the economy reacts poorly to shocks, no matter how liquid the capital stock under consideration. A sudden opening of trade is a bad idea, almost as bad as a sudden closing.
Whether the aggregate production of wine and cloth increased or decreased now depended both on economies of scale and the macroeconomic effects of changes in trade policy.
This is going to be a red herring, isn't it.

(P.S, it was. Keen does not appear to have any position on what the macroeconomic effects would be, other than that they would be low-status.)

If the Portugese wine fields have good economies of scale, then England would get cheaper wine. (Once the effects of the shock dissipate.) If they don't, then England's wine fields won't get scrapped in the first place.

It's far more likely that Ricardo did think of this, but didn't think it was worth mentioning. Because it wasn't. Keen is playing a dumb gotcha, and dumb gullible half-illiterates are all like, "Yeah, my enemies* should be punished! What Keen said!" *(read foreigners)
Economists have considered this issue to some extent (work in this area led to Paul Krugman’s Nobel Prize in 2008)
>approvingly quoting Krugman
Face, meet palm. I think I need a pad on my desk to avoid head scars.
Ricardo set the standard in a tangential observation about one potential riposte to his case: if Portugal were genuinely better at everything than England, would not English industry simply decamp from England and move holus bolus to Portugal if free trade were allowed? He conceded that it could do so, but then asserted that, if this happened, it would be advantageous not merely to English capitalists but to English and Portuguese consumers as well:  
At least this is dumb in a complicated way.

Keen wants you to imagine that Ricardo is hypothesizing that all English industry moves to Portugal, and that the English simply sit around in fine linens sipping wine all day, with no tedious work to be done. Proven impossible by inspection, therefore Ricardo must be insane, right?

Ricardo already proved that this wouldn't happen if the only industries were wine and weaving. Keen did not attack this in any substantive way. Keen must be deliberately omitting critical context, to form a bait-and-switch.
On the issue of the relocation of production from high-wage First World to low-wage Third World countries, modern economists have pushed Ricardo’s Vice past even Ricardo’s limits. While he did contemplate the possibility of capitalists moving production offshore, Ricardo was of the opinion that this was both unlikely and undesirable:
"Ricardo was admirably xenophobic."
the fancied or real insecurity of capital, when not under the immediate control of its owner 
Accountants routinely price such risks into prospective profit statements.

Rhetoric does not decide whether Ricardo was correct or incorrect. If the risk of foreign investments, as accounted, does not overwhelm the additional profits, then the home country will monetarily profit by such investments. This is an objective accounting fact. Keen is implying that you shouldn't do it anyway, because foreigners are icky. You wouldn't want to be caught saying foreigners aren't icky, now would you?
The theory of comparative advantage would lead you to expect that in a world with very low trade barriers—basically the modern globalized world—most countries would have specialized trade profiles, so that they would score low in both ubiquity and diversity. This proved to be true of underdeveloped economies like Ghana, in which the top three exported products—fuels, precious metals, and cocoa—make up 81 percent of its exports. But it was not true of advanced economies like Germany,
Actually I wouldn't expect that, for myriad reasons.
This is a common trick, where Keen says something plausible, relying on the (reliable) fact the reader won't think about it carefully, if at all. And by 'common' I mean I expect better. This is low-class sophistry.

If you do think about it carefully, this fatally undermines Keen's point. He said earlier that open wine trade with Portugal would destroy England's (hypothetical) wine industry. (And this is bad because negative halo.) He says in this passage that the modern world has low trade barriers, as Ricardo wanted. Yet industries are not being destroyed. Uh, oops.

In short, "We need trade barriers to get complex economies, also, despite no trade barriers, we have complex economies." Yeah, great job Keen. Keep it up. (In reality trade barriers aren't that low.)

Here's a genuinely curious fact: Canada and America export substantial amounts of electricity to each other. I believe this is true of many other commodities. Trade must be sufficiently open, or they would be unable, yet regional specialization does not appear to be occurring, or if it is, it's occurring far below the scale of the federal jurisdiction. In any case, I certainly wouldn't have predicted it, and were Keen able to explain it, I would be grateful, despite his numerous intellectual sins. However, because I'm aware of this curious result, I wouldn't be so bold as to make specific industry level-prediction about English linens and Portugese wines in real life until I find out what's going on with North American electricity.

Keen isn't here for curiosity, though, he's here to make soldier-arguments for his side.

Steve Keen is not an economist. He is a Sophist. He employs economist-flavoured rhetoric, which politicians use if they dislike who he's throwing shade on. Keen chooses his shading targets based on who he wants to be friends with. If he ever says anything factually accurate, it's a coincidental accident.

I don't think Vox Day is actually dumb enough to fall for this nonsense. I believe he's exploiting the under-served 'foreigners are icky' propaganda market.

Friday, August 25, 2017

In the United States today, financial fraud is de-criminalized

Michael Hudson isn't such a great fan of banking:
In the 1960s, banks required a 25-30% down payment by the buyer, and limited the burden of mortgage debt service to only 25% of the borrower’s income. But interest is now federally guaranteed up to 43% of the home buyer’s income. And by 2008, banks were making loans no down payment at all. Finally, loans in the 1960s were self-amortizing over 30 years. Today we have interest-only loans that are never paid off.
So banks loan much more of the property’s market price. That is why most of the rental value of land isn’t paid to the homeowner or commercial landlord any more. It’s paid to the banks as interest.   
[...] 
The problem with the savings and loan crisis was mainly fraud! The large California S&L’s were run by crooks, topped by Charles Keating.  Many were prosecuted for fraud and sent to jail. By the 1980s the financial sector as a whole had become basically a criminalized sector. My colleague Bill Black has documented most of that. He was a prosecutor of the S&L frauds in the 1980s, and wrote a book “The best way to rob a bank is to own one”. [...] Fraud was the main financial problem, and remains so. 
[...] 
These were essentially junk mortgages, and once again it was fraud. Already in 2004 the FBI said that the American economy was suffering the worst wave of bank fraud in history. Yet there was no prosecution. Essentially in the United States today, financial fraud is de-criminalized. No banker has been sent to jail, despite banks paying hundreds of billions of dollars of fines for financial fraud. These fines are a small portion of what they took illegally. Such paymets are merely a cost of doing business. The English language was expanded to recognize junk loans. Before the financial crash the popular press was using the word “junk mortgages” and “Ninjas”: “No Income, No Jobs, no Assets”. So everybody knew that there was fraud, and the bankers knew they would not go to jail, because Wall Street had become the main campaign contributer to the leading politicians, especially in the Democratic party. The Obama Administration came in basically as representatives of the bank fraudsters. And the fraud continues today. The crooks have taken over the banking system. It is hard for Europeans to realize that that this really has happened in America. The banks have turned into gangsters, which is why already in the 1930s President Roosevelt coined the word “banksters”. 
[...] 
Most of the houses that were foreclosed on have been bought out by hedge funds for all cash. In the wake of 2008, by 2009 and 2010 hedge funds were saying “If you have $5,000,000 to invest, we’re going to buy these houses that are being sold at distress prices. We’re going to buy foreclosed properties for all cash, because we can make a larger rate of return simply by renting them out.” So there has been a transfer of property from homeowners to the financial sector. The rate of home-ownership in America is dropping.
The economy itself has not recovered. All economic growth since 2008 has accrued only to the top 5% of the economy. 95% of the economy has been shrinking by about 3% per year… and continues to shrink, because the debts were kept in place. President Obama saved the banks and Wall Street instead of saving the economy.
Don't get your hopes up about his solutions, though.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Government Successfully Evades Blame

To my surprise, I've collected all the ways the government is directly causing America's most serious employment problems, and blaming automation and foreigners taking your jobs. (Logically equivalent to automation.) Alternatively, blaming capitalism in general.

Fun fact: automation increases wealth. More stuff / same number of people = more stuff per person. Alternatively you can make the same amount of stuff in less time, but have more leisure. E.g. 30 hour weeks for everyone, but with the same standard of living as the previous 40.  Equally foreigners. If they're making all your stuff, you can relax or do something else on top of having all your stuff. Of course that's not what we're seeing. The problem is the government has made productive work illegal. 
Automation's effect on wealth causes deflation. Same number of dollars / more stuff = fewer dollars per stuff. That includes your wage, so you should be taking a pay cut. However, the minimum wage exists, so you can't take a pay cut. "I don't work for minimum wage!" Doesn't matter. The programmer has to be paid more than the roofer who must be paid more than the janitor. Otherwise, why not simply skip the skill investment and take the simple indoor job? Because the janitor can't take a pay cut, the roofer can't take a pay cut, which means the programmer can't take a pay cut.

Your wage is price controlled, meaning there's a glut of labour on the market, or equivalently a shortage of jobs. Your employer wants to replace your overpriced ass with a machine, or with foreign non-controlled labour. The wage cut is taken on average instead on each individual, by firing roughly that percentage of the labour force. The government successfully blames this on the automation which the employer uses in response to the anti-human government policy. (Anthrophobic?)

--

The government is continually raising regulatory overhead. Either your employer sells your widgets for the same price and takes compliance costs out of your wage, or they sell fewer widgets and must shrink, disemploying the lowest productivity employee, which one day will be you. As mentioned previously, you can't take a pay cut, so they have to shrink. The government is continually shifting jobs 'out of the money' so to speak, in this fashion.

Because much of this regulatory overhead is a fixed per-employee cost, there's a very strict band of competitive hours per week for wage labour. Used to be exactly 40 with no overtime, and now it's a half-inch below the Obamacare full time guidelines. When available leisure increases, hours cannot change, meaning the leisure is taken on average instead, just like the pay cuts are taken on average. The unemployed 'benefit' from 100% of the leisure increase, while the wagecuck gets nothing.

In addition, the government simply outlaws low-status jobs from time to time, such as when the EPA's clear stream act made it impossible to mine coal. (Trump is supposed to have reversed it.)

--

The other price control is interest rate control.
Take out an interest to start or fund a business. Pay 2% interest, because ZIRP. The firm makes 7% profit, and at sufficient scale the 5% is plenty for paying executive salaries and other dividends. The problem is real inflation is 10%, so the firm is actually losing money. Their gross revenues won't pay for new inputs. This is a wealth furnace. They will have to roll a new loan to pay for operating costs, which the bank is only too happy to provide. They're taking valuable inputs and producing less valuable outputs. They're lighting wealth on fire and the resulting heat makes the GDP look good.

Because it's anti-automation, it's less stuff / same amount of people = inflation. Their operations will cause their profits to drop over time, until they go out of business. When enough of these firms go out of business at once, there's a recession. The econometrics catch up to the reality that the economy has been shrinking, and as the metrics quickly move toward reality, it looks like a sudden event. (This is what Mises etc. mean by praxaeology and first principles being superior to naive measurement. If you rely on the econometrics you will never figure out what's going on or how to fix it.)

The bank itself is one of these wealth furnaces. The bailouts show that they indeed go out of business from time to time, whereupon the government subsidizes their operation. Overall it's a complicated scheme for turning taxpayer money into sinecures.

Twitter and Reddit are exactly these wealth-furnace corporate welfare schemes, they will last as long as the government feels like subsidizing them, and exactly that long. That's more or less why they're radically left-wing. There were more right-wing corporate welfare proposals, but the government decides not to subsidize those ones, so they go out of business. Similarly, Twitter knows that if it veers too far right, it will lose the coercive sponsor. By contrast, Gab must fund itself through donations.

--

Finally, the government is nonproductive, and is now growing faster than the economy in absolute terms, but is still arrogating wealth to itself. Cancer be growing, yo. Meaning, less wealth distributed to the productive sector / same number of people = less wealth per producer. Meaning a pay cut in terms of lifestyle not dollars, instead of a cut in dollars not lifestyle.

As a bonus, as lifestyle drops below the welfare line, previously-productive individuals are shoved into the nonproductive sector, creating nothing but still getting welfare, creating an accelerating positive feedback loop of wage destruction.

Don't forget all these wealth furnaces, which get partial credit for nonproductivity and being part of the government.

--

Summary.
The automating employer can't choose to make more stuff but with the same people, it has to choose making the same stuff with fewer people. The leisure is distributed unevenly, and involuntarily.

The regulated employer can't choose to make the same stuff but pay you less, so it makes less stuff and must involuntarily distribute more leisure unevenly.

Productive firms cannot compete with nonproductive firms exploiting the price-controlled interest loophole. Economic activity on average starts destroying stuff - lowing real wages - instead of creating it. Ultimately the wealth furnaces even destroy themselves, again unevenly and involuntarily distributing leisure.

The government directly makes your job unprofitable by growing, involuntarily distributing leisure to you, and distributing wealth away from your slightly more productive peers.

Eventually the government will strangle the economy entirely, and we'll see something like feudalism, state collapse, and, where the voters are really dedicated, famine.

--

This is not progressivism. This is not even democracy. This is the natural incentives of every coercive government with the technological capacity to do this. Getting folk put out of work for no reason and getting away with it means you're high status, and gets you laid. Imposing regulations without having to pay for them gets you laid. Raising the minimum wage means you have more dependents and bossing folk around gets you laid. Artificially buggering interest rates gets you a class of sycophants who depend on your largesse and can be expected to obey in return, which gets you laid. Bragging about getting away with having a useless job where you don't have to work gets you laid.

The only reason e.g. China isn't buggering itself these way is because it's busy buggering itself in different ways. When it gets tired of them, it will move on to these sooner or later. Putin resists many of these incentives by force of will. Unless Russians luck out with having an endless series of benevolent psychopaths seizing Putin's position, they will end up buggering themselves like this too.

I begin to speculate that upper-class monogamy substantially slows this process. All this stuff gets you laid, but it's not much use if you're not allowed to get laid by anyone who you're not already getting laid by. Still, the genes think it will create new reproductive opportunities, so it will be pursued regardless, if at a lower intensity.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Prewar Science Was Right About Black Holes

Black holes don't really exist. They are very dark grey approximations of black holes, with no event horizon. I discovered this independently, and found out it was consensus for prewar physics.
I saw credible complaints about my last explanation being unclear, so I'm going to try again.
Postwar science believes objects can cross a black hole's event horizon and join the singular mass. From the infalling object's perspective, this isn't too wrong. However, all prewar physicists /facepalmed simultaneously, because no outside observer - e.g. an astronomer - will ever see an object cross the event horizon. Whether they can cross or not is irrelevant to black hole ontology. As the object approaches the horizon, time dilation increases infinitely. It literally takes forever to touch down. The same thing from another perspective, length contraction approaches infinity, so the object (from our perspective) must cross an infinite amount of space to reach the event horizon.

By symmetry, the infalling object will see the rest of the universe appear to speed up infinitely, and thus see its end before it manages to strike the singularity. All decay mechanics will run to completion, including the decay of the black hole it is falling into. If some analogue of Hawking radiation exists, the falling object will see the black hole retreating from it faster than it can fall in, finally disappearing before it strikes.

The mass originally constituting the black hole also counts as an infalling object. Time dilation increases faster than density as it approaches the critical density. While arbitrary mass can get it arbitrarily close to its Schwarzschild radius, it cannot actually cross before the rest of the universe ends. No black holes can form in the first place.

The objects called black holes are dark because, along with time dilation and length contraction, spatial distortion causes redshift. As the mass approaches arbitrarily close to the critical density, emitted light is redshifted arbitrarily close to nothing. Similarly, any object that's on a path to strike the superdense matter will join its infinitesimally close approach to temporal stasis and redshift oblivion. Equivalently, due to the massive time dilation, the time between each individual photon emission approaches eternity. The flux of conventionally emitted energy falls below the measurement error of any conceivable instrument.

A few consequences: no you don't have to worry about LHC black holes, as it's just regular if superdense matter. There is no information conservation paradox. There is no singularity that needs to be shielded. In other words postwar scientists have managed to make themselves a tremendous amount of unnecessary work.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Alrenous Power Redistribution Impossibility Theorem

Democracy is socialized power. Instead of a small group being in charge, everyone has a micro slice of being in charge, which add up to some decision when added together. Democracy is impossible.

It isn't natural for power to be evenly distributed. It must be redistributed. Someone must then have the power of redistribution. If they have the power of redistribution, they could redistribute it all to themselves. They are the sovereign.

IF the vote exists THEN power was redistributed THEREFORE power was not redistributed. Impossible by contradiction.
IF the vote doesn't exist THEN democracy does not obtain.

Democracy is logically impossible. The people cannot rule.

Of course the logician can go wrong. I could have accidentally divided by zero somewhere. So let's check.
Sovereigns have a reliable source of security. A sovereign voter would be able to unilaterally defend their right to a vote. As a result it would be impossible to prevent such a person from voting, for any reason. Felons. Noncitizens. Children. Nonhumans.
It would be impossible to recant on the vote procedure. No Hitler. No Stalin. No Kims. No juntas at all, actually.

Checksum complete. There's another one which shows that were democracy real, it wouldn't have to be implemented on purpose. It would simply happen, which is historical nonsense.

It is logically necessary that the vote is an illusion of power. The redistributor maintains the illusion purely to hide their sovereignty. They rely on the fact that doing roughly what the vote says will provide parasitism opportunities disguised as charity. (Ctrl-f 'siphon'.) Modern states are highly sophisticated machines for appearing to do what the vote says while doing things as distant as possible from what the vote says, should the redistributor be in the mood.

(Only the tiniest apologies to Chamley-Judd.)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

You Don't Care About Other People's Children

How does a psychologically normal human react to having their innocent child splattered? I will be ignoring the parts where common sense is correct.

First, the denial. They will appear to double down on clinging to the ingroup. It's a reflex: in times of trouble, don't rock the boat. Appear particularly loyal. Similarly, beliefs have some inertia. They do not change immediately even against overwhelming force.

However, it will quickly be clear that the ingroup is offering no substantial support. Words and theatre is all they have. This will feed the previously-repressed feelings of betrayal.

Now it's time for the anger and spite. They will defect on the ingroup and join the rebellion. They will join the KKK or the unironic Nazis, as the only groups that seem harmonious with the hate they now feel. It will be years before they realize this isn't working, so I'll stop the story there.

If humans genuinely cared about other people's children like their own, there would have been a semi-spontaneous mass violent uprising after the first terrorist act that really counted.

Some don't count. The very first one gets written off as a fluke. Weird things happen sometimes, it's best to forget about them. There are more weird one-off events than normal events, a normal human can't spend time thinking about them or that's all they would do. The second one triggers the denial phase. They realize it's a pattern but they hope someone else will deal with it. But the third or fourth one would have brought down the government.

At the very least there would have been mass civil disobedience, after everyone simultaneously became a Nazi under a noticeably non-Nazi government.
"Hey neighbour, you paying your taxes this year?"
"Ha! Not if I can avoid it."
"No? Perhaps I won't either."
The IRS cannot deal with 70% of the country paying their taxes. It would be an undeniable vote of no confidence in the government as a whole.

First problem: modern humans are not psychologically normal. Prussian school is designed precisely to lay waste to all facets of normal psychology. (Homeschoolers are darkly funny. "If I implement Prussian school at home, it will be different, right? Poison administered by the ingroup is different than poison administered by the outgroup, you see.)

Second problem: nobody gives a shit about other people's children. Well...they're small and easy to kill, plus killing the outgroup's kids makes more room for the ingroup, so it doesn't besmirch your cooperator credentials. And killing is fun. But beyond that nobody gives a shit about other people's children.

Final problem: modern populations have been bred for millennia to be extraordinarily cowardly in the face of state decrees about what is and isn't high status. The Romans managed to outnumber the brave races who would have resisted, and subjected them to Roman Peace. The brave minorities in broadly cowardly races were systematically weeded out. They will join the Nazis in their heart. But they won't dare to so much as tell anyone.

There are some other indicators. If your child dies, you worry about the mental health of their siblings. If it's your grandchild, you check on the parents from time to time as well. Where are the repeated newspaper articles about how the children are recovering, or not? Where's the frankly troublesome avalanche of letters asking about it? Why don't the survivors have hundred or thousands of offers to take them on a trip into town to help take their mind off things? Where's their legions of volunteer bodyguards?

It's taken for granted that nobody gives a shit about other people's children...except when it's time for us all to pretend to care, in service of whatever selfish impulse can be served.

Of course the government is fully aware of all this. Being well-socialized, they know that, like themselves, nobody cares about other people's children. The rulers know everyone is amazingly cowardly, just like they are. The rulers know there's not going to be a mass wave of tax revolt just because the government isn't doing what everyone pretends their job is. The rulers are pretending too. They know.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Doomcore is The Way Out

Doomcore is perhaps the most powerful seditious propaganda. Proggies cling to power because they think it can be saved. If it became widely known that Western Civilization in its modern constitution is doomed, they become sad, backward-looking relics.

Hopeless desperation is not high status.
Pointless effort is personally demoralizing.
They would surrender without having to kill everyone.

the future will feel like this
There is no other way out that doesn't involve mass death. Civil war: half every country is dead or enslaved. Economic collapse: farms with no electricity or fertilizer; famine, down to preindustrial levels. Welfare families have expanded beyond their self-sustainable levels and if it is interrupted they will die back to the sustainable levels. Sans vigorous suppression, xeno'phobia' is apt to lead to lethal pogroms levelled at unassimilated immigrants and anyone who looks like them.

The challenge: doomcore is dark knowledge. If Western Civilization in its modern constitution is doomed, that includes you. You must personally divorce your own culture. Everything you learned growing up in suspect. Most of it is probably trash. Every habit, every project, every impulse must be re-examined, and you will find most of them were counterproductive. Can you do that? Yes. But you don't think it's necessary. You will realize it's necessary only too late, because humans' true species name is homo hypocritus hubristis.

It's time to give up. It's over. It isn't, just barely, too late to start over. The only good news is the critical mass of fundamental dissenters isn't very large, and the above personal divorce is all they need. However, the mass death will scale with the percentage of clingers.

Most of Civilization is rotten, but rot can be scraped off, and the seeds of what once was healthy can still be rescued. If you want a more precise metaphor, we can feed the corpse to the scavengers and use the fertilizer to grow something new. Elements can be recycled. But first we have to admit the thing is dead. We have to admit we don't know exactly what killed it.

The left? The right existed before our left. And lost.

Christianity? Christianity existed before democracy. And lost.

Bad parenting? There's a case to be made for the black death making too many orphans. But if so, bad parenting is already very old, not new. I personally bet on it going all the way back to Pandora's Seed.

Every single habit, from personal to international, must be tested with horrifying stringency. Only a few will survive the meatgrinder. There will be holes, in which new habits must be created. The new habits will then have to be tested, because by God it is time the West learned it can't decide for itself what Gnon likes. The West was demonstrably too weak. This isn't even the first time.

The West, everywhere, in all its forms, deserves to lose confidence. In this, Progressives are absolutely correct. However, it must be a controlled descent, or it will crash into foreign armies. It is necessary to lose confidence intentionally, specifically for the purposes of deserving to have confidence again.